Your Rights and Obligations Under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL)

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

It is the policy of the University of California to provide Pregnancy Disability Leave to eligible employees in accordance with the California Pregnancy Disability Act (PDL). This notice is an overview of your rights and obligations under PDL. If you are eligible, and the leave you have requested pursuant to University policy or union contract qualifies as PDL, you will receive up to 4 months or 88 working days.

For a full review of your rights and responsibilities please read: the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM), the Academic Personnel Manual (APM), and/or the applicable union contract.

Eligibility and Reasons for Leave

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is available to you if you are disabled due to pregnancy, for pregnancy-related medical reasons, or for childbirth.

Time Off Under PDL

PDL allows up to 4 months of leave (88 work days) for pregnancy-related disabilities. The leave time is pro-rated according to your established schedule.

  • If medically necessary you may take PDL on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule.

PDL Coordination with Other Leaves

Leave granted under the PDL runs concurrently with other leaves as allowed by policy and law. Leave beyond the time permitted under PDL may be available in accordance with the University's leave policies, union contracts and other state and federal laws. For specific leaves that may be available to you, please read PPSM, APM and any applicable union contract. You may also wish to speak with your manager or contact your Employee Relations representative.

Notice, Certification and Reporting Requirements for PDL

Advance Notice

If you wish to take leave under PDL, you must give your manager reasonable advance notice. To apply for leave under PDL, 30 days advance notice is required. If you fail to provide 30 days notice, your department may deny leave until 30 days after the date you provide notice. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, you should provide notice within a reasonable time after learning of the need for leave. Written notice is recommended, however, verbal notice is acceptable.

Medical Certification

Written certification from a health care provider may be required for PDL (see the applicable personnel policy or union contract). If medical certification is required, failure to provide required certification within 15 calendar days of the date of this notice may result in a delay of your PDL leave being processed.

Recertification of your health condition may be required periodically.


PDL leave is normally unpaid leave; however, you may request or be required to substitute paid leave (i.e., accrued vacation, sick leave) for all or a portion of the unpaid leave in accordance with appropriate policies and union contracts. You may be eligible during the unpaid portion of your leave for temporary disability payments under the Short-Term Disability Plan and/or the Supplemental Disability Plan.

Health Benefits

Your regular benefits will continue while you remain on pay status for any portion of your PDL. If you elect to take part of your PDL as unpaid leave, and will miss one or more paychecks during your leave, you can continue health care and other insurance coverage under the group health plan through one of two programs.

The first program available to you is the U.C. Direct Pay program. Insurance coverage is available to the extent coverage would be maintained if you had been actively at work during the leave period. You will be responsible for the full premium payment. To participate in this program you must complete and return in a timely manner, the Benefits: Request to Continue/Cancel Coverage form (PDF). Failure to pay premiums within 30 days of the due date will result in cancellation of your enrollment in that plan.

The second benefits continuation program available to you is COBRA.

For information on what happens with all of your benefits during PDL, see the Pregnancy and Newborn Child Factsheet (PDF).

If you do not return to work at the conclusion of your approved leave, you will be liable for payment of the health plan premiums (medical, dental, vision) paid by the University during any unpaid portion of your leave. The University may recover its share of health plan premiums by taking deductions, to the extent permitted by law, from your unpaid wages, if any, vacation pay, or other pay due you, or by initiating legal action. However, you will not be liable for the premiums if your failure to return to work is due to continuation of your own serious health condition or other reasons beyond your control. You will be considered to have returned to work if you work for at least 30 calendar days after your scheduled return date.

Pregnancy Disability Leave Approval

You can request Pregnancy Disability Leave either verbally or in writing. In addition, timely completion of forms will help ensure that approval of your leave is not delayed, and that your benefits, pay status during leave, and disability insurance application are processed as you requested.

In applying for a Pregnancy Disability Leave obtain a copy of the:

  • Leave of Absence Request form
  • Medical Certification Form
  • Return to Work Certification
  • Benefits Check List
  • Request to Continue/Cancel Benefits While on a Leave

Complete and submit the Leave of Absence Request to your manager, indicating the amount of paid time and unpaid time off you wish to use.

The Medical Certification form should be completed by your health care provider, and returned to your manager. The certification must contain:

  • The date on which the pregnancy-related disability began (or will begin);
  • The probable duration of the condition; and
  • A statement that, due to the pregnancy-related disability or medical condition, the employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of the position.

Consult with the Benefits Office to find out about your benefits eligibility during leave.

University Designated PDL Time Off

The University may designate time away from work as PDL if the leave meets the requirements outlined in policy, an applicable union contract, as well as state law. Designated time off will also be deducted from you PDL balance (88 work days).

Returning to Work

Under law, you must be reinstated to the same position you had prior to taking Pregnancy Disability Leave, or to a substantially similar position provided that you return to work immediately following the conclusion of PDL leave. If your position is unavailable (due to, for example, a temporary or indefinite layoff), you have no greater right to reinstatement than had you been continually employed during the PDL leave period. You are not entitled to reinstatement if your appointment end date occurs before your scheduled return date from pregnancy disability leave.

The University's responsibility to continue your health plan coverage ends (except under Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage) upon notice that you do not intend to return to work at the end of the approved leave, even though you are able to work at that time.

For Additional Information

For more information about family care and medical leave and related leaves, please call the Employee Relations Consultant for your department in the Office of Central Human Resources or the Academic Personnel Office. Questions regarding employee benefits should be directed to the Benefits Office.